Jamie was beyond exhausted.
After having dropped off Crewman Lewis in Sickbay under the care of Dr Callahan, he had gone, as ordered, directly to the quartermaster to receive his new assignment and living arrangements on the Solaria. It appeared that he, SFC Matheson and SSgt Loza had been the last few Fleeters to trickle in amongst those who had made it to the rendezvous point.
And so, to make things simple, the quartermaster had simply assigned all three of them to share a duty locker, which meant for one free rack. None of them had the energy to fight over who’d get the bunk with an empty spot above or below, and so it defaulted to the most senior amongst them, Matheson.
With nothing to unpack, Jamie managed to catch an hour of sleep in his cramped, new living space, quickly falling unconscious into a dream where his mind longed to be back home on Scorpia. He saw Oliver, the trees and the beaches… before it all came to an abrupt end and he woke up in a sweat. A depressing hopelessness sank in when he realised he was back within the ship’s metal confines.
He’d been given a fresh pile of uniforms – one set of the formal duty variety, while the rest were utility fatigues of both the dark green and digital camouflage type. But like all medical personnel, he had a preference for the dark blue scrub top over a pair of bottom cammies, which he decided on after a quick shower in a surprisingly empty head. He had only just gotten back to his rack, when he received a text message on the bulky, Fleet-issue phone he’d been given by the quartermaster. New orders from Dr Callahan to report directly to the CMO at his office. It wasn’t the best of timing, but if the Chief wanted a bone-weary, sleep-deprived paramedic to report in, that’s what will happen. At least he’s now had a shower.
And so Jamie spent the next ten minutes figuring out how to get back to Sickbay, which he knew the CMO’s office to be adjacent to. After asking for directions twice, he finally made it onto the correct deck, stepped into the office – which had its hatch already open – and stood to attention.
“Specialist Perth, reporting as ordered, sir.”
O’Hare instinctively returned the gesture, “Thank you, Specialist. At ease,” he ordered, before sitting down, gesturing Perth to follow suit. He’d been meeting with as many of the medical staff present on board the Solaria since the Captain had granted him the role of Chief Medical Officer. He hadn’t been able to rest, every time he tried he was haunted by his mother and father perishing after a nuclear bomb was detonated over Celeste, the capital city of Scorpia. Every time he closed his eyes he was reminded of the homeworld he’d never return to.
So he’d distracted himself, gotten straight to work. He’d had a medical department to build that was capable of supporting the crew of a Battlestar.
“How are you?” he’d asked everyone. He needed to know who could keep going, and who was falling apart. Those that fell apart would be reassigned to another vessel.
Jamie sat down and wondered if the question was meant to be a joke. How do you bloody think I am?! He thought to himself. But instead, he kept as straight of a face as possible, and instead answered, “I’ve been better, sir.”
“Haven’t we all, Specialist,” Nathan accepted the answer before moving on quickly. “If you are up to it, I’ve been tasked with putting together a medical team to treat the members of the Solaria’s crew. Our numbers are diminished. People are going to be assigned where ever they are needed, outside your typical scope of practice.” Nathan was upfront, an honest man to the end. Being so honest would also pay off in shaking the resolve of those less equipped. They were all trained to do specific tasks, he’d be asking them to blur the lines.
Jamie gave the CMO’s words a thought. He’d spent the past several years working towards qualifications to extend his scope of practice well beyond that of any general paramedic’s. He was keen on expanding it further, although he would’ve much preferred to have been given the opportunity it in less dire circumstances.
“Yes, I understand, sir,” he nodded. “I’m ready to take on more independence and responsibility as required.” Inside, he wondered if he truly was ready at all.
Nathan considered the paramedic for a moment, the ghost of a smile forming at the corner of his lips. “Good. We’re going to be stretched thin, and the fleet is going to need us to be as efficient as possible, without losing any of our ethics to the situation,” he explained. An overwhelmed doctor could be dangerous, he needed to establish an efficient routine immediately. He also needed to ensure they were all aware of what working on the Fleet’s command vessel would entail under their circumstance.
“It’s a decent facility for a ship this size,” Jamie commented. “Dr Callahan’s given me a quick tour. A little rough around the edges, but looks like it can do everything that any of the sickbays on newer Battlestars can.” He then asked, “Are you an original member of the Solaria’s crew, or also new to the ship, sir?”
“No, I’ve only worked planetside. I was stationed at the Colonial Fleet Medical Centre as a consultant and representative to the neurology department after I concluded my residency there,” the doctor explained. “I’ve done my fair share of Raptor journeys, but I’ve never served on a Battlestar. You?” Nathan asked, pulling out an octagonal pad and pen up. He had nothing on the Specialist yet, he needed to start building records.
“I haven’t been on a Battlestar before either,” Jamie admitted. “I was a reservist. I’m from Scorpia, but did my paramedic training on Caprica. Finished a post-grad course to be a critical care paramedic just last year.”
Nathan nodded as he wrote it all down. “Maybe the gods have given us a small reprieve, you and your training will be integral to whatever I set up in this department. We need to be ready for emergency at all times,” the doc informed Jamie casually/ “It’s looking like a lot of first aider’s are going to be conscripted for shifts in the infirmary. We may even have to provide some training, anyone qualified will likely be given teaching duties.”
“I reckon most of it will probably be on-the-job teaching,” Jamie said. “Although a few formal sessions would be of benefit to those with more basic medical skills. I think Dr Callahan has already started organising a few of those. She’ll be an important asset, as an emergency physician.” He then quickly added, “Not to say you aren’t, sir. Sorry.”
“I’m a military neurologist, we didn’t see many emergency situations. It’s not my job to be an asset, it’s my job to bring the assets together into a cohesive team,” Nathan replied, unaffected, “I’ll take your information under advisement”.
Jamie looked down at the ground with embarrassment. “I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t mean to tell you how to do your job.”
“You didn’t, Specialist” Nathan replied. “You pointed out key information. I haven’t had the chance to speak with Callahan yet, but I appreciate that the skills of the emergency staff will be paramount if we wish to survive this genocide”.
There was a short pause between the two, before Jamie said, “Did you… did you manage to escape the attacks with anyone else, sir?”
For the first time since the attack a real smile, albeit small, developed on Nathan’s face. “Two. The pilot and ECO of the Raptor I was in. They’ve worked with me for close to two years.” He paused for a beat. “Now they’re the only people I know, the only two people out of the entire human race that I know,” his smile faded, he was trying to avoid these moments. The moments where the grief became all to real.
The young paramedic glanced down again, at the front of his boots. “My father, on Scorpia. And my boyfriend, Oliver. Was gonna introduce him to my dad for the first time over dinner tonight. We would’ve been at the table right about now.”
“I had dinner plans too, my mother’s 60th. I wasn’t even supposed to be in that Raptor. I was supposed to be in Celeste. The Colonial Fleet had different ideas though,” Nathan sympathised. The emotions would be raw for all for a long time. How can you get over an attempted, almost successful, genocide? Losing most, if not all, of your family and friends? Yet they’d have to. The Fleet needed them to. “A number of ships will have escaped Scorpia. There is hope that they survived. I just hope that this Battlestar comes across any of the stragglers before the Cylons do”.
Jamie welcomed the thought that anyone he knew may have made it onto the ships that have escaped, but he couldn’t see why Oliver would’ve. He hadn’t planned to be on any ship at any point during the day… just getting ready for the dinner they were supposed to have. “Yes, I hope so too,” he simply said. “And I’m sorry to hear of your loss, sir.”
“So say we all,” Nathan replied firmly, a comforting mantra amongst a vast majority of the Colonies, religious or not. It an affirmation that no matter how dire the circumstance, they all stood together.
Jamie nodded. He wasn’t religious, so his repeat of the phrase came only after the briefest of hesitations. “So say we all,” he said quietly.
They sat silently for a moment, Nathan giving them both time to process. “You’re dismissed, Specialist. Try and get a couple hours rack time, then head up here for duty posting.” Back to business, they had no choice.
The young medic stood up and gave a quick salute. “Yes, sir.” And with that, he turned and made his way out the door, and wondered how much rack time he’ll actually get.